The 2024 edition of the Sundance Film Festival is a little over a week away and it’s time for us to talk about movies that will be the talk of Sundance, movies that should not be missed and lastly underrated movies that are a must watch as well. The list below is not comprehensive and the goal is not to rank order any of the movies in this list. From films by critically acclaimed directors like Steven Soderbergh and Richard Linklater to actors like Pedro Pascal, Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg, the list also focuses on independent films by new exciting directors and filmmakers for the future. In no particular order, we are listing 20 feature films that are a must watch if you are planning to check out the festival.
Synopsis: In 1987 Oakland, a mysterious force guides The Town’s underdogs in four interconnected tales: Teen punks defend their turf against Nazi skinheads, a rap duo battles for hip-hop immortality, a weary henchman gets a shot at redemption, and an NBA All-Star settles the score. Basically another day in the Bay.
Directed By: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Cast: Pedro Pascal, Ben Mendelsohn, Jack Champion, Angus Cloud, Keir Gilchrist, Jay Ellis
Synopsis: A postapocalyptic romance in which a buoy and a satellite meet online and fall in love after the end of human civilization.
Directed By: Sam Zuchero, Andy Zuchero
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Steven Yeun
Synopsis: A middle-aged filmmaker on the verge of a breakthrough. Two kids in search of a lost backpack. A small dog a long way from home.
Directed By: Jack Begert
Cast: David Schwimmer, Gaby Hoffmann, Dominic Fike, Talia Ryder, Jena Malone
Synopsis: A year in the life of a unique family. It captures the daily life of the Sasquatch with a level of detail and rigor that is simply unforgettable.
Directed By: Nathan Zellner, David Zellner
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Riley Keough, Nathan Zellner, Christophe Zajac-Denek
Synopsis: Rona, a young woman recently out of rehab for alcoholism, returns home to the Orkney Islands after more than a decade away.
Directed By: Nora Fingscheidt
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Paapa Essiedu, Stephen Dillane, Saskia Reeves
Synopsis: An undercover Houston police officer poses as a reliable hitman to arrest those trying to hire him until he tries to save a woman in need.
Directed By: Richard Linklater
Cast: Glen Powell, Adria Arjona, Austin Amelio, Retta
The American Society of Magical Negroes
Synopsis: A young man, Aren, is recruited into a secret society of magical Black people who dedicate their lives to a cause of utmost importance: making white people’s lives easier.
Directed By: Kobi Libii
Cast: Justice Smith, David Alan Grier, An-Li Bogan, Drew Tarver, Michaela Watkins, Aisha Hinds, Tim Baltz, Rupert Friend, Nicole Byer
Synopsis: Reality Winner is a brilliant young misfit from a Texas border town who finds her morals challenged while serving as an NSA contractor. A sarcastic, gun-lovin, vegan, yogi, and CrossFit fanatic, Reality is an unconventional whistleblower who ends up being prosecuted for exposing Russia’s hacking of the 2016 election.
Directed By: Susanna Fogel
Cast: Emilia Jones, Annelise Pollmann, Kathryn Newton, Averie Peters, Connie Britton, Zach Galifianakis, Danny Ramirez, Shannon Berry
A Real Pain
Synopsis: Mismatched cousins David and Benji reunite for a tour through Poland to honor their beloved grandmother. The adventure takes a turn when the pair’s old tensions resurface against the backdrop of their family history.
Directed By: Jesse Eisenberg
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kieran Culkin, Will Sharpe, Jennifer Grey
Synopsis: A family discover they are not alone when they move into a new house.
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Lucy Liu, Julia Fox, Chris Sullivan, Callina Lang, Eddy Maday, West Mulholland
Girls Will Be Girls
Synopsis: Follows the journey of 16 year old Mira, who’s sexy, rebellious coming of age is disrupted by her young mother who never got to come of age herself.
Directed By: Shuchi Talati
Cast: Kani Kusruti, Jitin Gulati, Kesav Binoy Kiron, Preeti Panigrahi
Love Lies Bleeding
Synopsis: Reclusive gym manager Lou falls hard for Jackie, an ambitious bodybuilder headed through town to Las Vegas in pursuit of her dream. But their love ignites violence, pulling them deep into the web of Lou’s criminal family.
Directed By: Rose Glass
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Katy O’Brian, Ed Harris, Jena Malone, Anna Baryshnikov, Dave Franco
A Different Man
Synopsis: After undergoing surgery for a new start in life, Edward becomes fixated on another man playing him in a stage production based on Edward’s former life.
Directed By: Aaron Schimberg
Cast: Sebastian Stan, Renate Reinsve, Adam Pearson
Will & Harper
Synopsis: When Will Ferrell finds out his close friend of 30 years is coming out as a trans woman, the two decide to embark on a cross-country road trip to process this new stage of their relationship in an intimate portrait of friendship, transition, and America.
Directed By: Josh Greenbaum
Cast: Will Ferrell, Harper Steele
Synopsis: Past and present collide when an Iranian American trans man time-travels through an LGBTQ+ archive on a dizzying and erotic quest to unravel his own sexual desires.
Directed By: Jules Rosskam
Cast: Theo Germaine, Aden Hakimi
Synopsis: Utilizing his paintings to find freedom from his past, a Black artist on the path to success is derailed by an unexpected visit from his estranged father, a recovering addict desperate to reconcile. Together, they learn that forgetting might be a greater challenge than forgiving.
Directed By: Titus Kaphar
Cast: André Holland, Andra Day
I Saw the TV Glow
Synopsis: Teenager Owen is just trying to make it through life in the suburbs when his classmate introduces him to a mysterious late-night TV show — a vision of a supernatural world beneath their own. In the pale glow of the television, Owen’s view of reality begins to crack.
Directed By: Jane Schoenbrun
Cast: Justice Smith, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Helena Howard, Danielle Deadwyler, Amber Benson
Look Into My Eyes
Synopsis: A group of New York City psychics conduct deeply intimate readings for their clients, revealing a kaleidoscope of loneliness, connection, and healing.
Directed By: Lana Wilson
Synopsis: When a cartel gunman is killed, he leaves behind Sujo, his beloved 4-year-old son. The shadow of violence surrounds Sujo during each stage of his life in the isolated Mexican countryside. As he grows into a man, Sujo finds that fulfilling his father’s destiny may be inescapable.
Directed By: Astrid Rondero, Fernanda Valadez
Cast: Karla Garrido, Juan Jesús Varela, Jairo Hernandez, Kevin Aguilar,
Synopsis: When 93-year-old Thelma Post gets duped by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson, she sets out on a treacherous quest across the city to reclaim what was taken from her.
Directed By: Josh Margolin
Cast: June Squibb, Fred Hechinger, Richard Roundtree, Parker Posey, Clark Gregg, Malcolm McDowell, Coral Peña, Nicole Byer
For Screening Dates and Times, visit https://festival.sundance.org/program/films/